In the Philippines, especially in its capital Manila, the roads are filled with these rowdy jeepneys – the engine sound, the sudden stops, the blings and stickers on their bodies. As a driver, you would want to stay as far away from them as possible which is an impossible feat in the metro. These jeeps would often have names written on their body or hanged on the back, sometimes stickers of zodiac signs, artwork, or the face of Jesus, others hang signs like “God bless our trip” or some pinoy hugot or humor quotes.
As I was done with my first trip this morning and on my way to the second one, I was already getting cheesed off with the bad Manila traffic, the buses and pedestrians, the chaos so early on a Monday morning. And it’s a Monday. Half-way to my second destination, this jeep cut me and I was about to lose it when I saw what’s written on its side “Jesus Owns You” and it spells JOY.
So simple. 3-letter word. 3 words. Says it all. It occurred to me how we all strive and struggle to be happy, to find peace, to be filled with joy – the joy that the world can never ever take away from us. We search, we seek, we ask, we knock yet often we are left asking for more or asking more questions. All along, what Jesus is telling us, what God wants from us, is to be owned by Him – yet we cannot have that. I am my own, this is my life – don’t we all say that and live that? I want joy but I want my life to be my own as well. Hmm… I really don’t know how we can work around that when JOY is simply being owned by Jesus.
What does it mean to be owned by Jesus and why do most of us resist?
To be owned even just by someone is to be a slave of that person, to obey and act on that person’s commands. Didn’t God give me
Only You can see my tears and know exactly what they mean;
And only You can wipe these tears and fill this empty space within;
Because only You know what’s in my heart and give exactly what it needs;
Only You can steady this heart and bring back the peace within.
© April 30, 2017
Since this month started, seems like things were going fast. Lent arrived and then – boom! A week left of the month and I wonder where have I been? I mix up days, forget dates, here but absent. My mind drifting and sometimes shutting down. I’m staring but not really seeing. And right now, my body screams STOP!!!- but I cannot. There are things needed to be done and things I wanted done. I haven’t prepared a draft for my blog post this March. I haven’t picked up the book I was reading. I haven’t been sleeping at the designated time I wanted to, not getting enough hours of sleep. Seems like I’m running after time. Just like that, the days are marching past me.
I am overwhelmed as soon as I shifted my eyes away from God and focused on this world. I am downcast as soon as I turned my back to His Word and embraced the world.
Last night brought me so much consolation. His Word that is truly alive and active and accomplishes its purpose.
[Of David] Yahweh is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? Yahweh is the fortress of my life, whom should I dread? When the wicked advance against me to eat me up, they, my opponents, my enemies, are the ones who stumble and fall. Though an army pitch camp against me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, my trust will never be shaken. One thing I ask of Yahweh, one thing I seek: to dwell in Yahweh’s house all the days of my life, to enjoy the sweetness of Yahweh, to seek out his temple. For he hides me away under his roof on the day of evil, he folds me in the recesses of his tent, sets me high on a rock.
Now my head is held high above the enemies who surround me; in his tent I will offer sacrifices of acclaim. I will sing, I will make music for Yahweh. Yahweh, hear my voice as I cry, pity me, answer me!
Of you my heart has said, ‘Seek his face!‘ Your face, Yahweh, I seek; do not turn away from me. Do not thrust aside your servant in anger, without you I am helpless. Never leave me, never forsake me, God, my Saviour. Though my father and mother forsake me, Yahweh will gather me up.
Yahweh, teach me your way, lead me on the path of integrity because of my enemies; do not abandon me to the will of my foes — false witnesses have risen against me, and are breathing out violence. This I believe: I shall see the goodness of Yahweh, in the land of the living. Put your hope in Yahweh, be strong, let your heart be bold, put your hope in Yahweh.
When you’re not okay and yet you have to show up and be okay. I don’t know which is worse, that or not being okay.
When I need some distraction from thoughts I cannot run away from; when I want a companion who doesn’t judge and just let me listen because at times I have no words left to say; when I want perspectives and life-lessons given me without even the hint of trying hard and or justification – I pick up a book and read. And I am always amazed at the things I get out of it. The things speaking right at me, telling me what I need to hear. That when I put down one, I have the sense of a renewed mind and spirit.
The books we read, that we pick up, matter. And it is as important to pray for those that we read as praying for other necessities in life. Because what we read affects us, influences us, changes us. May God lead us to more literature that will help us become better and not bitter, at peace and not tempted, joyful and not depressed, informed and not deluded.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
So you should pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those who are in debts to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.”
– Matthew 6:9-13
And this is how we ought to pray. Not by memorizing the Lord’s prayer but by truly understanding what it meant.
To declare His glory and to make known His love; to submit to His will; to ask not only for the daily provisions of life but for the bread of life as well – the Word of God, the presence of Jesus in our lives; to forgive others and acknowledge that we are sinners and humbly lay down our sins at the feet of the cross; to pray for strength for we know that our flesh is weak; to acknowledge our salvation.
When we find it in our hearts struggling to submit to His will, or to forgive – let us pray for these struggles because we are weak and He is strong. Let us not depend on our strength but rely on His. And in times we do not know what to pray, or when we even cannot utter a single word to pray, a tear drop is a prayer that the Lord fully comprehend. A deep sigh from a tired soul, a silence, a sob from a broken heart – all these and more the Lord sees and hears as our prayers.
The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our heart knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
– Romans 8:26-27
Pray, and listen. The Lord delights in speaking to us when we pray.
When we take our time and delay before acting, that can be prudent and wise, but then that can also be plain laziness. When we consider something over and over, that can be prudent and wise, but then that can also be indecisiveness. When we hold our tongue when insulted, that can be prudent and wise, but then can also be cowardice in disguise. The reason behind our actions, the state of our hearts when we decide, is the true indication of wisdom and prudence.
Who is the prudent man? He is cautious, shows discretion, has discernment, and makes sound judgement. He does not delay for the sake of delaying or think long because he cannot decide but he is tactful in his considerations, decides with discernment and considers not only the now but what his action or inaction can lead to.
Prudence cannot be without wisdom and vice versa. In fact, in Proverbs 8:12 (NIV) Continue reading
Love your enemies.
Simple. Direct. Crazy. But, why should I? How could I?
In theory, it’s already hard to postulate. In practice, what more? The world sees this as the craziest idea – a world that demands justice, revenge, vengeance sugar-coated into something we sometimes use as ‘I’m just teaching him a lesson’ or ‘He deserves it’. Oh, how kind of us, teaching lessons, giving deserving presents! And the world who loves gossips and dramas would be against a person who quietly accepts persecution and forgives – corny, boring, stupid.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38 – 42
Personally, I struggle with this command. It’s just too hard to comprehend and it goes against lessons the society has taught me growing up. I look at a society that demands Continue reading
Truly, God, in His Mercy, takes care and provides for His flock. For me to be able to join the recent World Youth Day in Krakow is a miracle in itself. He has converted the ‘yes’ into a possibility. I had my reservations going into this trip – with all the chaos going on in most parts of Europe, then as we were nearing our departure via Turkish Airlines, there was bombing in the airport followed by a failed coup less than a week before we leave. The trials never stopped there but with the loving mercy of our Lord, He has went ahead and prepared a way for us.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Litomerice, Czech Republic.
Everything that comes into our lives is a moment of encounter with God.
From the homily by Fr. Bert during the Eucharistic celebration last July 25, 2016 at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Litomerice, Czech Republic.
It’s not only in the extravagant events or in the ‘fireworks display moment of our lives’ that we encounter God but also in the little moments and sometimes, for us, trivial events that He is there, nudging us, knocking in our hearts, presenting Himself to be recognized by our soul. And it is easy to be distracted and to not see God in the midst of the noise and the activities, with the world presenting you with so much diversions, with sceneries and oh the potatoes. When we were reminded that Continue reading
People can love you to the moon and back and you’d still get disappointed with them. God loves you to the moon and beyond and He never disappoints.
Skimming the surface, most of us go through life like this. We see a man cross the street, dropped his coin, went back to pick up his coin and block an incoming car. What a stupid man! On the surface, he values the coin more than his life. How easy it is for us to draw conclusions and pass on judgments on events and people just because of what we see. Going deeper is too complicated, too much effort and such a waste of time. To ask “maybe”, to consider for a split second and to ponder about this man’s life – too much! Yet, this man has a story, his coin has a story, his crossing the street has a story – or maybe, it’s simply just that, he just wanted to cross the street, dropped the coin and decided he loves the coin more than his life – stupid man. Or what about the driver of the incoming car? The hustle and bustle of life, the busy-ness that we have plunged ourselves into, has made us skim surfaces and move on without taking a second look, without having second thoughts. Like the wind passing through a tree, blowing the leaves off their branches without looking back, leaving the tree and leaves with their own stories.
Stop and smell the flowers. Slow down and appreciate life. Skimming the surface makes you miss out on the beauty of an ice cream cake stuffed with your favorite fruits and flavors. It doesn’t hurt to go deeper, to look beyond – there’s always so much more than what meets the eye.
Be quick to consider and slow to judge.
When you say YOLO, I hope you realize that YODO, too. You only live once, you only die once. I hope you reflect on that before you do reckless stuff. I hope you understand that time wasted, money spent and words spoken can never be taken back, and that the injuries you have caused yourself and other people may heal but scars don’t go away. I hope you see that for every action there is a reaction that reverts back to you – some call it karma, I’d like to think they’re consequences for our actions or failure to act, all the same. YOLO and YODO must not paralyze us or lead us to be reckless, it must make us prudent and discerning and make us see the things that truly matter in our lives: time – spend them well; people – love them well; things – use them well; talent – share them and bear fruits that will last; and life – we only have one with this body, let us live it well so as to earn the eternal one. Cos you know, there is a YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER (YoCaLiFo). It’s never too late to begin investing on eternity now.
So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.
And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment, Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him.
For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.
Things I look forward to this month:
- The Starbucks 2015 Planner – nothing WOW but … a chalk pen?! I waaaant!
- The November BDJ Box. This preview looks kinda familiar… Will I benefit from this? 😉
- The ECHO! 😀 Of course! Anything that can take me away from my crosses! Ha ha ha! Seriously, looking forward to a wonderful time with the Lord and hoping that our hearts (every single one present on that weekend) will be opened by God and that His Word will penetrate each one of us.
- Bonifacio Day Sale! I was at first looking forward to this weekend’s sale but then again, I checked my budget and I have to tighten my belt and “not grieve the Holy Spirit” so even when everything’s on sale this weekend – I have to fight the temptation.
Things I look forward to this December:
- Tim Ho Wan North Edsa opening on December 15!
- CHRISTMAS! 😀 Well, the Spirit of Christmas in people I meet – it’s just magical how when it’s Christmas, people are kinder, more considerate and more cheerful. I look forward to that.
- Wrapping presents – I do miss doing crafts, it’s been a while. I have stuff to work on for now so … December, I will be back on those stamps, papers and scissors! 🙂
- Holiday meals/get together – always a lover of good food and good company.
How about you? What are you looking forward to? 🙂 It’s nice to have things/events to look forward to – makes one grounded and motivated. Always remember, hope is good fuel for the soul. False hope, on the other hand, is bad for the spiritual health. Keep in touch with God and He will send you the TRUE HOPE that we need. 😀
I know I’ve been kinda MIA in my blog, there are stuff I had to attend to for the past few days but I look forward to filling this space with my thoughts soon! For now, here’s something for everyone to read, reflect on and enjoy! (:
Trusting God often requires not knowing how God is going to accomplish what needs to be done and not knowing when He will do it. We often say God is never late, but generally He isn’t early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives.
“Due time” is God’s time, when God knows we’re ready, not when we think we’re ready. The sooner we understand and accept that, the sooner God can work His plan in our lives.
I witnessed God this morning, along a major road in the metro. A guy helped an old man cross the big street. The old man has his one foot wrapped in cloths and a plastic. After crossing, the guy sat the old man by the bus stop then proceeded to get something from his backpack. He produced the crackers he had inside and gave it to the old man before going along his way.
It made my day, to see an angel, to witness Jesus in the metro, in the rush of cars and commuters, this scene was highlighted to me.
And I realize, we all feel pity. It’s our emotional response to situations we encounter wherein we find ourselves better off than the other. Pity, for me, is just that – an emotional response and often we leave it at that. It is LOVE that drives pity to do something other than feel sorry. It is Love that gives the push to act, to do something about it.
Thank You for this revelation. ❤️
When I started to love writing, I really couldn’t say. But I started enjoying reading by the time I learned how to read. However, it doesn’t always follow that people who love to read also love to write. Sometimes they just don’t or sometimes they won’t.
Whenever I write, it’s like an unconscious thing, a dream, though I’m awake. I’m taken into this different world where I can feel other things and see how beautiful things are then the words just attach themselves to each other and form statements and they make sense (well sometimes they don’t but still… you get the point.)
Why do I write? Most of the time, I write for myself, unless required by someone else to. There is clarity when I see my thoughts right in front of me. Aside from seeing my wrong grammars, it shows me when my thoughts are flawed, when they’re geniuses and when they are nonsense, and I love them all. I’m not perfect but I will never use that as an excuse to write irresponsibly, but then I understand when there will be times that I may write irresponsibly out of emotions and I have to forgive myself. Because, I am writing for myself – to release my thoughts, to understand myself better, to explore my imagination, to express my emotions, to share my blessings – and if other people see something in the stuff I write, I know then that the thread in the universe’s web is still intact and we are still connected and bound to each other by our thoughts, our emotions and our situations, even in a little fraction of each. (:
Sunday is family day for us. And family day means – food. We are bound not only by blood but by food! 😀
This Sunday, we went to this famous Hainanese chicken place my dad loves. We’ve tried others but he will always say that this is still the best he’s had here – WEE NAM KEE. It’s a well-known dining place in Singapore that was brought to the Philippines.
Before the food, I must mention this – I’m loving their wallpaper. ♥
Now, for the food. 😉 We’ve eaten at other Hainanese chicken restaurants but I can say Wee Nam Kee is the best so far. (: They also offer other lovely dishes that will delight your taste buds and a twist to a dessert we all love! (see gallery below) 😉 I couldn’t say much, my tummy cannot turn them into words. It’s one happy tummy that day. 😀
A happy tummy, a happy family! ((:
I posted not long ago about my thoughts on how a simple downpour can paralyze the metro.
Last Friday, I was one of the unlucky, or maybe just one of the blessed, ones who were caught in the frenzy of a downpour and flooding. I left work hoping against all hope that even with the flashes of lightning and thunder I can make it to my sister’s workplace and then home. There was no rain, just lightning and thunder. I guess I cannot completely escape the week without really getting showered on. Downpour is okay, I like rain… but flooding and getting stranded, ugh!!!
There were 3 blessings that night that I am very grateful for.
Before you conclude, before you even think about walking away or convincing yourself of your assumptions – ASK!
How can you know, when you never asked? How can you be certain, when you never inquired? How can you conclude with only assumptions? Maybe it’s time to stop being ASSuming and ASK! 😛
Okay, this post was really intended to just be my thoughts about the many misunderstandings that we encounter. However,